Four human 'hens' fly their coop

FOUR MEN have failed in their attempt to spend a week living like battery chickens to win a pounds 10,000 challenge, writes Richard Smith.

After just 20 hours cooped up in a small cage, they asked to be freed. One of the four, Daryl Heathfield, 20, an unemployed builder, of Newent near Gloucester, who had hoped to spend his share of the money on a new artificial leg, said: 'It was me that wanted to come out, the others didn't. But it was freezing and my foot was turning blue. The experience has changed my views. I'll only eat free-range eggs and chickens in future.'

The men spent a sleepless night roosting in a 40in-square cage less than 6ft (1.82m) tall and with no sanitation. The cage was hoisted a foot above the floor in a stable at the Hereford home of a vegan author, Rebecca Hall, who originally challenged battery-hen farmers.

A tape recorder played a constant babble of noise to mimic the mayhem in a battery house, and boiled brown rice was put out for the men to eat. Richard Brett, 34, a lorry driver, said: 'The night was bloody horrible, and the thought of doing seven was pretty daunting.'